Sisi condemns brutal death of Jordanian pilot by Islamic State

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, who was held hostage and burned alive by the Islamic State (IS). 

Sisi affirmed Egypt’s support of the Jordanian government “in the face of a barbaric and cowardly organization that’s acting against all heavenly laws.”

Sisi also asserted the need for international unity “against terrorism in all shapes and forms,” and against extremism, “especially practiced by terrorist groups that use Islam as their cover.”

A video released earlier on Tuesday by IS showed dramatically-edited footage of Kasasbeh being led into a cage and then burned to death. The video, which has been widely circulated on social media, sparked outrage among users who deemed it “brutal” and “barbaric”. 

Kasasbeh had been captured by IS on December 24, 2014, after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in northern Syria during a military operation against IS. According to Jordanian state TV, it is believed that Kasasbeh was killed on January 3. 

A statement released by the Jordanian military promised retribution against those who killed the pilot. The Jordanian military spokesperson said that “the martyr’s blood will not be shed in vain.” He warned that revenge against “those who assassinated Kasasbeh and those who support them will be as huge as the loss felt by all Jordanians.”

Egypt is not the only country to condemn the killing of Kasasbeh. US President Barack Obama called the act “another sign of the viciousness and barbarity of IS,” the Guardian reported, while British Prime Minister David Cameron called it a “sickening murder” that would “strengthen resolve to defeat IS.”

UAE Foreign Minister Abdallah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan also issued a strong statement against IS, calling them “a terrorist organization that revealed its true face and intentions.”

“This is a defining moment that reaffirms that the UAE’s clear and decisive position to stand against extremism and terrorism without hesitation and with maximum force was right all along,” the minister added.

This is not the only incident where IS released disturbing footage of murders. In late January, another video was released showing the beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who had been held hostage by the terrorist organization. 

IS had reportedly asked for the release of a suicide bomber held on death row in Jordan in exchange for the release of Goto and Kasasbeh. 

During the video of Goto’s murder, a masked armed man addressed the Japanese government, “You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by God’s grace, are an Islamic Caliphate with authority and power, and an entire army thirsty for your blood.”

In January 2015, photos were released by IS showing alleged members of the group throwing a blindfolded man off a tower in Syria for “being gay.” The victim, who survived the fall, was then stoned to death by a group of people on the ground. 

In July 2014, IS released another shocking 30-minute video depicting the mass execution of mainly plain-clothed young men, said to be more than 1,500 Iraqi soldiers, to mark the last day of Eid celebrations.

Initially connected to Al-Qaeda and designated as a terrorist group by several countries and the United Nations, the Islamic State originally emerged in strife-ridden Iraq to establish a Sunni Muslim caliphate, then expanded its operations into Syria. The group has achieved notoriety for its violent atrocities, which are often sectarian in nature. After gaining control of the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS rebranded itself as the Islamic State and appointed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph.

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